The size and shape of the glue droplets along the spiral threads of orb webs play an important role in web function. Despite this, methods for estimating droplet volume are not well defined, with contradicting formulas published. Here we address the discrepancies in the published formulas with a mathematical derivation that assumes that a glue droplet conforms to a parabola along one side of the axial line. We confirmed the validity of our derived formula by comparing it with the results of numerical integration. We also document that a droplet continues to conform to a parabola as its volume changes with environmental humidity. Our formula can be applied simply by collecting the spiral threads, examining the droplets under a light microscope and measuring their length and width, making it easy to compare the droplets of different species collected at different relative humidities.
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